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Medical License RevocationsAn investigation conducted by Bloomberg reveals that doctors are receiving millions of dollars from Medicare – despite the fact that they have lost their license to practice medicine. The publication found at least seven doctors who had collected over $6 million from Medicare. All the physicians found in the investigation had notified Medicare that their licenses had been revoked, yet Medicare still continued to pay when these doctors moved their practices to another state. Recently, the agency which administers Medicare released payment details for the year 2012. This is the first time in 20 years any data has been released. Bloomberg used this data to conduct its investigation. Examples of what the Bloomberg report uncovered includes:
  • One physician had his license permanently revoked by the state of Ohio so he moved his practice to New Mexico (where he had received a license to practice medicine almost twenty years ago). He received $660,005 from Medicare in 2012.
  • Another physician lost his license to practice in Alabama for gross malpractice, as well as New York, where it was revoked after a patient in his care died. The physician currently holds a Georgia medical license and received $22,134 from Medicare in 2012.
  • A Missouri doctor surrendered his license to practice following charges he had violated several drug laws. The doctor then moved to Illinois, where he currently has a license to practice. He received $3.5 million in Medicare payments in 2012.
According to a report issued in 2012 from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Medicare paid out over $44 billion in payments which should not have been paid. The charges were billed either fraudulently or via billing errors. The GAO has had Medicare on its “high risk list” since 1990. The Bloomberg report highlights another reason why more investigation is needed. It is absolutely critical to consult a professional and reputable New Braunfels medical malpractice attorney in every instance of possible medical wrongdoing. Contact the Bettersworth Law Firm for all your personal injury law needs.

Most people place the utmost trust in doctors and medical practitioners, many times leaving not only their short term health, but also the overall quality of life they will have for years to come in the hands of these men and women. Unfortunately, medical malpractice occurs more frequently than most of us would like to think, and preventable medical damages happen at an astonishing rate in Texas and across the country.

It is alarming that there is no clear cut answer as to the amount of people who actually suffer from medical malpractice. Consider the following list of findings on the prevalence, as well as the severity of the problem:

  • A study conducted by The Journal of Patient Safety in 2013 found preventable medical errors to be the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind cancer and heart disease;
  • Studies by a NASA toxicologist indicated malpractice occurred in 21 percent of all hospital cases between 2002 and 2008;
  • The amount of estimated people who die annually from medical malpractice is estimated to be between 98,000 and 440,000;
  • According to Physicians Weekly 35 percent of all malpractice claims were due to failing to diagnose. In addition, of all malpractice cases, 61 percent took two or more years to conclude, and only 43 percent of plaintiffs received monetary compensation.

While the estimates on the occurrence of medical malpractice can certainly have a large range, even the lowest figure is too high. Perhaps what is most disturbing is the low number of victims who recover damages from their illnesses, injuries, or deaths caused by medical professionals.

It is absolutely critical to consult a professional, and reputable personal injury attorney experienced with medical malpractice cases in every instance of possible wrongdoing. If you are living in South Central Texas, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm today for all your personal injury law needs.

Posted on in Dog Bites

dog bite, lawyer, attorney, New Braunfels injury lawyerSummer is here and that means more people enjoying outdoor activities. Children are out of school and neighborhood streets are busy with activity. It also means more people, both children and adults, are at a greater risk of being bitten by a dog.

According to statistics from the Center of Disease Control (CDC), every year almost 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. Half of those dog-bite victims are children. One in five victims has to seek medical treatment for the bites they receive. Almost 450,000 children need medical attention for the bites they get. In one year alone, 27,000 dog bite victims get bitten by dogs so badly they require reconstructive surgery.

Children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old are most at risk of receiving injuries from a dog bite. And men are more likely than women to be victims of dog bites.

Contrary to what most people think, there is no specific breed of dog that is more apt to bite than others. Any dog has the capacity of suddenly biting. It’s important for everyone to know how to behave around an unfamiliar dog, and it is especially critical to teach children how to react to a strange dog. The CDC offers these tips to share with children:
  • Never approach a dog you do not know;
  • Never run away from a dog;
  • Never scream at a dog;
  • Teach children to stay very still – “like a tree” – if a strange dog comes near them;
  • If a dog knocks them down, teach them how to roll themselves up into a ball and not to move;
  • Never play with a dog unless there is an adult supervising;
  • Teach children that if they see a dog they do not know, to stay away and tell an adult;
  • Never lift a hand up to pet a dog’s head. Always keep your hand by your side and let the dog sniff your hand first;
  • Never bother a dog who is sleeping or eating;
  • If you are bitten by a dog, tell an adult immediately.
If your child has been bitten by a dog, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the animal’s owner.

brain injury, traumatic brain injury, homeless, Texas personal injury lawyerPhysicians at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto conducted a survey of homeless men and discovered that almost half of them had suffered some kind of past traumatic brain injury (TBI).

A traumatic brain injury can have devastating, life-long effects. There can be an alteration in moods, resulting in either reduction in motivation or an increase in aggression. There can be damage to a person’s cognitive capacity, such as the inability to make decisions. Recognizing appropriate and inappropriate social behavior may also be affected.

The researchers for this study questioned 111 men between the ages of 27 and 81 from a local homeless shelter. The definition the study used for homelessness was “living at a shelter within the last seven days and not having a home of one’s own.” Although the men were randomly chosen, there were criteria they needed to meet in order to participate. They had to be able to speak English; they had to be able to give their consent to participate; they could not have any severe mental illness which would pose a safety risk for the researchers. The majority of participants had issues with chronic alcoholism.

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According to a recent study, gastric feeding tubes prescribed for patients who suffer from dementia may actually increase the risk of pressure ulcers, also called bed sores.

Many dementia patients eventually have a difficult time eating. Swallowing especially can be affected by the disease, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia.  As a result, doctors frequently prescribed the insertion of gastric feeding tubes. The tube is inserted in a small incision that is made in a patient’s abdomen and that is how the patient receives nutrition.

Gastric feeding tubes cause many dementia patients to become agitated. As a result, it often becomes necessary to restrain and sedate them. With the patient now restrained in bed for the majority of time, the risk of bed sores greatly increases. The study revealed that 35.6 percent of patients, who did not initially have bed sores before a feeding tube was inserted, developed a stage 2 bed sore (or worse) with the feeding tube. Fewer than 20 percent of patients who did not have feeding tubes developed bed sores.

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